Ethical Consumers Preferring the Carrot Over the stick

The latest GlobeScan tracking data suggest that a shift may be taking place among ethical consumers, from a focus on punishing irresponsible companies to one characterized by rewarding those companies seen as socially or environmentally responsible.
Since the early years of the last decade, there has been a marked increase in self-reported rewarding and punishing of companies on ethical grounds by consumers across 14 developing and industrialized countries. The numbers punishing companies have been much more volatile, however, likely driven by the periodic emergence of high-profile scandals affecting individual companies. But since 2005 such punishment, rather than reward, has been the dominant expression of ethical consumerism.
This picture now appears to have changed, with the numbers punishing companies for bad practices falling away, while those rewarding responsible companies remain stable. This is probably a consequence, at least in part, of increased consumer choice of ethical products in many sectors—though economic factors may also be at play in the sharp decline in those refusing to buy from irresponsible companies.
Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 1, 2011
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.